Peter Hujar (1934-1987) photographed his subjects with penetrating sensitivity and psychological depth. Unflinching and at times dark, he captured intellectuals, luminaries, and members of New York City subculture in moments of disarmed vulnerability.
Hujar embraced male sexuality unabashedly, and was unafraid to examine death and dying. In her introduction to Portraits in Life and Death, Susan Sontag wrote, "... Fleshed and moist-eyed friends and acquaintances stand, sit, slouch, mostly lie - and are made to appear to meditate on their own mortality ... Peter Hujar knows that portraits in life are always, also, portraits in death." Hujar was at the forefront of the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers in downtown New York in the 1970's and early 80's. He succumbed to AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of work that has become posthumously celebrated.
Hujar's photographs have been exhibited throughout Europe and the United States, including Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam for a retrospective in 1994. Organized by the Morgan Library & Museum in New York and Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid, the exhibition Speed of Life continues to travel across the globe and is currently on view in Paris, France at the Jeu de Paume until January 2020. His work remains in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Selected publications include the first and only monograph made during Hujar's lifetime, Portraits in Life and Death (Da Capo Press, 1976), and the posthumous works: Peter Hujar (Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University, 1990), Peter Hujar: A Retrospective (Scalo Publishers, 1994), Animals and Nudes (Twin Palms Publishers, 2002), Animals (BukAmerica, 2006), Peter Hujar Photographs 1956-1958 (Matthew Marks Gallery, 2009), Peter Hujar, Lost Downtown (Paul Kasmin Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, 2016) and Peter Hujar: Speed of Life (Aperture, 2017).